Bangkok: Asian markets advanced on Thursday, lifted by modest gains overnight on Wall Street and on hopes that the US government will ease the home loan crisis by moving ahead with a plan to buy troubled mortgages.
But the outlook remained cautious as traders grappled with worries about fallout from the US credit woes and a slowdown in the American economy, a vital export market.
Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 stock index jumped 243.36 points, or 1.88%, to 13,215.42 points, while Hong Kong’s benchmark index rose 1% and South Korea’s market climbed 1.2%.
Shares also rose in Australia, China, Taiwan and Singapore. Indian markets were closed for a holiday.
Talk among Tokyo traders that Washington may be progressing in a plan to buy troubled mortgages sparked buying, said Hiroichi Nishi, general manager at Nikko Cordial Securities. Such a plan has been discussed for some time, though some expect a Bill to be introduced as soon as next week.
Japanese financial and insurance stocks rebounded from days of selling and mining and energy stocks followed commodity prices higher.
Yahoo Japan climbed 5.4% on news that Yahoo Inc. decided to extend its deadline for nominating board members, giving it more time to work out a possible deal with Time Warner’s AOL unit. The news fuelled hopes that Microsoft Corp., which is offering $41.5 billion to acquire Yahoo, may eventually have to raise its offer, traders said.
Trading would likely remain light on Friday ahead of the key US jobs report, they said.
In Hong Kong, stocks snapped a four-day decline, as oil refiners gained on rising oil prices and local bourse operator Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing rose after better than expected 2007 earnings results. The Hang Seng Index advanced 228.39 points, or 1%, to 23,342.73. The index had fallen more than 5% over the last four sessions.
On the Chinese mainland, stocks rebounded from early losses to close higher as bargain hunting lifted financials, though gains were capped by worries over the broader economic outlook. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index gained 1.6%, or 68.33 points, to 4,360.99. “The market is still biased to fall against the backdrop of the central bank’s continued tightening and the weakening US economy,” said Wang Junqin, an analyst at Guosen Securities.
Elsewhere, Singapore’s Straits Times index rose 0.2% to 2,917.92, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 climbed 1.1% to 5,435.5.